Combating climate change will need everyone individually to change the way they live their lives and the first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle is to monitor your own impact on the environment.
Global environmental consultancy WSP Environment & Energy created the Personal Allowance Carbon Trading scheme (PACT) to enable its employees to do just that. Not only can they track their carbon impact, but there are rewards for those who meet the company-wide target - and penalties for those who fail.
PACT is a voluntary scheme that was designed to support the company's own environmental commitment and to engage staff. It was launched in 2007 with a pilot in the UK operation of WSP's Environment and Energy division, and has since been taken up by other divisions of the group and at locations overseas such as Dubai and South Africa. It's been so successful, in fact, that a number of other organisations, including Cisco UK, Invensys Rail, five London boroughs, renewable energy supplier Good Energy and the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, have taken the scheme under licence for their own employees.
The scheme measures individuals' energy use at home and emissions from their commute and other personal travel. The results are recorded quarterly via an online member-only website.
Those who complete the year with carbon emissions below the annual target - set at five tonnes per person in the UK for 2010 - receive a reward of five pence per kilogramme under target, to a maximum sum of £100. Those who exceed the target pay a penalty at the same rate, funding the scheme's rewards.
It has proved to be a powerful source of motivation, as many of the employees who signed up have changed their travel arrangements, turned down their heating and even arranged more sustainable holidays to meet the target.
The PACT scheme has been positioned as a member programme with benefits for those who take part. Members are offered the chance to buy 100% renewable electricity - from supplier Good Energy, for example - and that will give them a significant start in meeting next year's emission target.
WSP has invested in the IT platforms needed to make this programme work. It has launched a sustainability e-learning programme to help staff understand the company's own business commitments and the related services it offers to clients. And an online web portal allows those signed up to PACT to record their quarterly results. Members can now see the visual impact of their footprint on a quarterly basis - and change their behaviour accordingly.
May Gurney Integrated Services
NHS Nottingham County
Sponsored by Eaga
WEB LINK: WSP Environment & Energy www.wspenvironmental.com/expertise/personal-carbon-trading